gyrovague
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Re: Eriador and verisimilitude?

Tue 03 Aug 2021, 17:19

I'm also playing with Dunlendings not as villains, though they will be co-opted by the master of persuasion to attack their ancient enemies whom we love. This'll be odd for some, but I like the complications it causes.
This actually makes perfect sense to me. Dunlendings aren't naturally "villains". When two peoples (Rohirrim and Dunlendings in this case) compete for resources, they each try to de-humanize the other. Those resentments and hatreds smolder, and all it takes is a master manipulator to pour fuel on the fire and convince those people that perpetrating atrocities on the other group is actually righteousness.
 
MDuckworth83
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Re: Eriador and verisimilitude?

Tue 03 Aug 2021, 17:38

Totally agree with the the post above...(edit: didn't see Gyrovagues but... yeah, agree with that too, lol). That was sort of the discussion I was looking for. I guess what I'm trying to dial in is... how much can I populate Eriador without breaking the canon or the "feel" of the books? Hidden Ranger enclaves are probably easy... nobody but Rangers know about them. I suppose 1st ed even added "some places" because if I remember correctly, it had a town along the Greenway between Bree and Tharbad.

That's a very valid point though to point out an explanation of why a fantasy world might be less populated than a model of 9th century Europe. Populations in the Dark Ages Europe were able to develop without the threat of Orcs, Wargs, Blighted lands, the Shadow spreading, Sauron, etc. I could totally see where there may have been a patchwork of fiefdoms and towns in Eriador that over the centuries as little islands of civilization that got snuffed out one by one by goblins, wargs, bad winters in which they were too isolated from trade and starved, etc. Bree would survive all of this because it was a significant sized settlement (~100 buildings) with a natural defensive position, access to good farmland, and probably most importantly.... existing at a crossroads where whatever trade was left in Eriador was coming through there.

Thanks for the great discussion and keep it coming! It's feeding my imagination.
 
Otaku-sempai
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Re: Eriador and verisimilitude?

Wed 04 Aug 2021, 00:15

Agreed that there is a long period between the Great Plague of T.A. 1636-37 and the Fell Winter of 2911 that was followed the following year by floods that devastated Minhiriath and Tharbad. One would expect some recovery of the population of the region over a period of over 12,000 years. Granted, the Long Winter of 2758-59 also created hardships for the peoples of Eriador, but even that followed a long period that should have allowed for much recovery. What factors would have kept the Dunlendings from expanding into Minhiriath during that period? Might Gondor have acted to restrain them? Surely the Rohirrim would have been glad to see the Dunlendings resettle to Eriador and away from the lands that they contested with them.

I have no recollection of any permanent settlements between Bree and the ruins of Tharbad, perhaps this was a more temporary encampment of some sort? I can certainly imagine that a town or at least a way station once stood at the intersection where the road to Sarn Ford branches from the North-South Road (assuming that a good water source existed). Perhaps someone is recalling a homebrew where the bridge at Tharbad either never collapsed or has been rebuilt?
Last edited by Otaku-sempai on Wed 04 Aug 2021, 00:25, edited 1 time in total.
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MDuckworth83
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Re: Eriador and verisimilitude?

Wed 04 Aug 2021, 00:20



I have no recollection of any permanent settlements between Bree and the ruins of Tharbad, perhaps this was a more temporary encampment of some sort? I can certainly imagine that a town or at least a way station once stood at the intersection where the road to Sarn Ford branches from the North-South Road (assuming that a good water source existed).
That's coming from the 1st edition adventure supplement covering Eriador, Ruins of the North I think? Nothing canon, just precedent in game. There is an adventure where you are arrested and thrown in a barn and have to defend your innocence to the locals (who are under Saruman's domination).
 
Otaku-sempai
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Re: Eriador and verisimilitude?

Wed 04 Aug 2021, 00:27

That's coming from the 1st edition adventure supplement covering Eriador, Ruins of the North I think? Nothing canon, just precedent in game. There is an adventure where you are arrested and thrown in a barn and have to defend your innocence to the locals (who are under Saruman's domination).
.
Okay. I've got Ruins of the North, but I've never gotten to play out any of the adventures in it. Perhaps this is a farm near the southern border of Bree-land?
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MDuckworth83
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Re: Eriador and verisimilitude?

Wed 04 Aug 2021, 02:27

That's coming from the 1st edition adventure supplement covering Eriador, Ruins of the North I think? Nothing canon, just precedent in game. There is an adventure where you are arrested and thrown in a barn and have to defend your innocence to the locals (who are under Saruman's domination).
.
Okay. I've got Ruins of the North, but I've never gotten to play out any of the adventures in it. Perhaps this is a farm near the southern border of Bree-land?
Pretty sure it was just north of Tharbad along the Greenway.
 
Otaku-sempai
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Re: Eriador and verisimilitude?

Wed 04 Aug 2021, 05:25

Pretty sure it was just north of Tharbad along the Greenway.
.
Okay, I suspect you are thinking of the village of Road's End from the adventure "The Company of the Wain". The village isn't definitively set at any specific location (that's up to the Loremaster), but it is tentatively said to be located at the fork in the Greenway where it meets the road that leads to Sarn's Ford. It's a logical place in which to find a small town that could either be very old or recently settled.
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Alfgar
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Re: Eriador and verisimilitude?

Wed 04 Aug 2021, 08:24

In regards to the Dunedain, the C7 Rivendell Region Guide states: "When Aranarth took the title of Chieftain of the Dúnedain, his folk went into hiding. They became a wandering people, but they kept returning to a fastness in the wilderness, a stronghold secreted in the angle of land between Mitheithel and Bruinen."
I suspect they made the Angle the location of a Dunedain 'capital' based on two sources.
1) The use of 'fastness' recalls a line from the rough drafts of the Tale of Aragorn and Arwen (found in the Peoples of Middle-earth HoME 12) it states regarding the parents of Gilraen: "they dwelt in a hidden fastness in the wilds of Eriador".
2) David Salo once posted (I believe on the defunct Elfling group) the following which is still cited often on the web:
"There is a short but hardly legible note which Tolkien wrote for insertion into the story of Aragorn and Arwen (and which was not in the event used); it includes information about the location of the Dunedain. Because of the difficulty of the note, the information is not entirely clear, but it suggests that the Dunedain lived in woodlands between the Mitheithel and Bruinen. Source: microfilms at Marquette University, Series 3, Box 9, Folder 3."

Do these two items make an Angle fastness canon? No but it remains a valid hypothesis and within the context of fan-fiction (which is what a RPG narrative is), it is at least Tolkien-inspired.
 
Otaku-sempai
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Re: Eriador and verisimilitude?

Wed 04 Aug 2021, 15:37

At least one permanent or semi-permanent Dunedain stronghold located somewhere in the Angle makes some amount of sense, though it would have to be pretty well concealed from outsiders.
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Tolwen
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Re: Eriador and verisimilitude?

Wed 04 Aug 2021, 17:59

This is something that interests me quite a bit as a worldbuilder and amateur historian. One thing that has always bugged me about Middle Earth is just how empty Eriador really is. Even given 2,000 years of calamity, you'd still expect a de-centralized patchwork of very small fiefdoms reminiscent of 6th century Italy and most of Europe. I've always thought it odd how Rhovanion that is supposed to be this wild borderland region, is dramatically more populated then the vast stretch of land that used to be a great kingdom. It really makes you wonder: [snip]
As already mentioned by coniunctio, Other Minds, Issue 13 has a thorough treatment of almost all the questions you raise here. And the following ones (#14 and 15) deal with the same theme for Rhovanion. I am happy to answer any further or more in-depth questions on them of course :)

Best
Thomas
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